Penns Valley

Antique machinery show pulls in visitors of all ages

People watch the garden tractor pull at the Nittany Antique Machinery Show at Penn’s Cave on Sunday, May 31, 2015.
People watch the garden tractor pull at the Nittany Antique Machinery Show at Penn’s Cave on Sunday, May 31, 2015. CDT photo

Smoke, steam and the steady chug of the engine.

The tractor has been the farmer’s faithful companion since the 19th century, from early steam-driven engines to the diesel-powered behemoths seen in today’s fields. Visitors who trekked a little east of Centre Hall had a chance to see some history this weekend.

The Nittany Antique Machinery Association held its 41st annual spring show Friday through Sunday.

Vehicles from all eras were on display, as well as some other treats for guests who braved the hot, muggy and occasionally rainy weather.

“We’re happy with the way things turned out this year,” said association secretary Bob Corman. “The spring show isn’t as big as our fall show, but its great to get people out here in the spring too.”

This year’s consignment auction, the highlight of the show, was a huge success, Corman said. Running Saturday from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m., collectors were able to sell off unwanted pieces to those who can use them, helping self-support the antique machinery community.

“It’s a great thing to bring your family to,” said Halee Wasson. The Penn State agricultural science major was the recipient of one of the association’s $1,000 scholarships for young agricultural students. “I haven’t been to the show since I was about 5, so it’s really interesting to see how much it’s grown.”

Along with the machinery displays, flea market and food vendors, guests had the opportunity to take in some other sights. A double-decker bus was on hand for quick trips, and a 1920s coal-fed boiler powered a massive sawblade that made short work of several logs.

While tractor pulls were featured all weekend, Corman said, Sunday saw garden tractor pulls featuring some rather young competitors.

He’s not even close to getting a driver’s license, but Jackson Probst, 5, was able to pull a blue ribbon with his 14-horsepower tractor, pulling the sled a full 204 feet.

Jackson has been driving since he was 3, his father, Justin Probst, said. He’s done many pulls, including taking first place at the Huntingdon County Fair.

“He really enjoys doing it,” Probst said. “I just hope it keeps him out of trouble.”

Jackson said he does love driving and enjoys winning.

Jackson also showcased his custom-built hot rod, just the right size for a 5-year-old, which was able to pull the sled 207 feet.